One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.
In this story we meet Janie who is the main protagonist. The author brings the Southern style of talking alive with the characters. It made me feel like I was right there within the story, talking along with them.
We are taken back in time to when Janie was a child and I felt privileged to be able to hear of her Nanny (Grandma), giving a bit of history to what life was like for her and Janie’s mum. It shows the dark side of what life was like many years ago with the author describing how diverse things were back then.
In fact the author deals with many subjects within this story. Diversity, racism, domestic as well as mental abuse to name but a few. It makes for quite a sombre read but Janie is such a larger than life character and there is much to take in of her life over time and her relationships with three different men. Each one brings something different with it to the reader.
I can see why this book has been described as an American classic. It makes for a good solid read and I enjoyed the author’s laid back style of writing. Whilst it didn’t quite impact me in the way I had hoped, Their Eyes Were Watching God is still a novel that people should consider giving a go.